The French writer Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio ("Jean-Marie who?") wins the Nobel Prize for literature, a surprise and a boon for three small houses. Though perhaps boring, who dares to argue that Le Clezio has not deserved it? French culture is alive and well, but contemporary literature is a "literature of despair". An article on how the best writers aren't all English. Why isn't there a Nobel Prize for the arts? An article on the future of reading: Using video games as bait to hook readers. From TED, will videogames become better than life? David Perry wants to know; and Steven Johnson on the Web as a city. From TLS, why Rowan Williams is the best man for the job — of appreciating the greatness of Dostoevsky; and an article on the genius of Machado de Assis, Rio de Janeiro's laureate of irony. Leading geneticist Steve Jones says human evolution is over. From Seed, a growing number of scientists argue that human culture itself has become the foremost agent of biological change; an article on the trouble with biodiversity: Life is more varied near the equator, but making sense of that has confounded biologists for 200 years; and in defense of difference: Scientists offer new insight into what to protect of the world's rapidly vanishing languages, cultures, and species. Studies suggest that efforts to appear race-blind can be counterproductive in some situations.

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